A preview into STLCC Lady Archer’s 2015 basketball season
The STLCC Lady Archers finished the 2014-15 Season with a 23-7 overall record. They lost in double overtime to North Central Missouri, 88-78, in the regional tournament. Head Coach Shelly Ethridge said the team has a chance to compete for regionals this year.
“It all comes down to the discipline aspect and the confidence. Anything can certainly happen. Last year, we were expected to win it all and we lost in double overtime. It is really hard to predict the future, but if our kids continue to improve daily like they have been, then I think we have a really good shot,” Ethridge said.
The Lady Archers are fielding a completely new team this season with only two returning players and a roster full of rookies, Ethridge said. She expects them to reach their potential in the second semester.
“When only having two returners, there is really no momentum right now because we are pretty much starting from scratch. In saying that though, we are showing signs that we can potentially be good. It is going to take until February before we enter into the full stride of their potential,” Ethridge said.
With a young roster, sophomores Amanda Hughes and Abbey Holtkamp will be helpful in their leadership roles because of their experience, Ethridge said.
“They can set the tone when it comes to drills because they have been through all of our drills before. They can shed light about our opponents because they know what to expect from certain teams and things of that nature. They are not vocal people, but they lead by their performance,” Ethridge said.
Lack of communication and game management are the current weaknesses of the young roster, Ethridge said.
“Right now, a lot of our student-athletes do not understand that it takes five people communicating all at one time, along with trying to find some discipline when it comes to what is a good shot, what is a bad shot and when is the best time to take it. We are working on that everyday and we are making progress,” Ethridge said.
Even with the lack of adequate communication and game management, athleticism and an abundance of quickness appear to be strengths, Ethridge said.
“The kids stated yesterday that they wanted to be known for their defense. In my theory, defense wins games. My three teams that we have taken to the national championship was not because they were able to put a lot of points on the board, but it was because we were able to stop teams better than us,” Ethridge said.
That is their goal, essentially, to be the best team in the league and get stops, Ethridge said.
Strengths and weaknesses taken into account, the Lady Archers are continuing to mature and gain consistency, Ethridge said.
“The kids have been really working hard and really have matured greatly in the amount of time we have put into our practices thus far. We just had a scrimmage game, three of them, at Illinois Central this past weekend and the kids performances shed some positive light in the direction we are heading,” Ethridge said.
The Lady Archers finished last season with a 10-2 home record. There is a sense of being more comfortable at home, Ethridge said.
“Everybody says there is no place like home. So, I would feel there is a sense of being comfortable in your own environment when you have these home games and the crowd is supporting you,” Ethridge said.
Former guard Deborah Holcomb led the team in scoring with an average of 25.2 points per game in 2014. They do not have that luxury this year, Ethridge said.
“At this point in time, nobody really as the green light like Debbie did last season. However, that does not mean that somebody cannot progress this year and develop into that type of scorer for us. We are really trying to figure out who the team captains are and who is going to be that go-to person,” Ethridge said.
When you think of Saint Louis Community College Women’s Basketball, you are talking about a team who has a significant amount of success, Ethridge said.
This year is a completely different perspective, at the beginning of the season, but requires patience.
“We are averaging 20 wins each season for the past four or five years and made three trips to the national tournament. Obviously, at the end of the season we hope to get the same outcome as far as region champs and hopefully vying for the national tournament spot; however, you are not going to get the wins that we typically have received in the beginning of the season that we have in the past,” Ethridge said.
Being patient, watching the kids progress and support from the fans is the best possible thing, Ethridge said.
“We are so young and it is going to take some patience from both the coaching staff and the players. They are going to have to believe that we can be successful and, as I stated, I believe it will not happen until February that we see the full potential of this team,” Ethridge said.
The success of the Lady Archers’ 2015-16 season is going to be a complete team effort, Ethridge said.
“Ultimately, the goal is to have more points than the other opponent. It has been challenging, but the kids are showing so much positive light that eventually we will get there,” Ethridge said.